There’s something about seeing a looming grant funding deadline that sets nonprofits into a tizzy. The grant writer polishes off another pot of coffee while the director paces the office chanting, “Is it done yet?” And, at the end of the process, when you click submit or seal the package for the post office, you wonder whether or not it’s all worth it. Will you get the grant?
Seven Common Grant Writing Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them
We’re here to tell you that you can significantly increase the odds of winning more grants by following a few simple steps. These steps aren’t rocket science. They may strike you as common sense. But a recent informal survey among foundation personnel who review grant applications found some common mistakes among the applications they received. By being aware of these mistakes, you can sidestep them and make your grant applications shine.
Mistake #1 – No Preparation
Grant applications should not be written without preparation. Study the granting organization. Review the last three years of winners. What do they have in common? How can you target your grant so that you have a better chance of receiving funds?
Mistake #2 – Late Applications
We know that work can get busy, but that doesn’t give you an excuse for turning in your grant application late. Always be on time!
Mistake #3 – Stuffing the Package
Sure, you want to impress the people who will review the grant application with every proof of your organization’s excellent work. But pick and choose what you would like to present. Too much information overwhelms reviewers and makes you seem disorganized. Refine the enclosures to support the central message of your package.
Mistake #4 – Vague Proposals
Vague language derails many proposals. Be specific about how you plan to use the grant funds and how it aligns with both your mission and that of the foundation providing the funds. The more specifics you can include in your grant application, the better.
Mistake #5 – Budgets that Don’t Add Up
Do the math. Recheck it. Make sure that any budget numbers included in the proposal are both realistic and accurate. The financials should support the logic that flows through the proposal. Err on the side of realism rather than optimism and have someone double check your figures.
Mistake #6 – Caught Off Guard
You get the call you’ve been waiting for – the foundation is interested, and your application is among the top for consideration. Now they have specific questions about the programs outlined in your application. Don’t be caught off guard. Have a comprehensive plan ready to share with foundation directors when and if they call you.
Mistake #7 – Failing to Say Thank You
Even if you don’t get the grant, say thank you. Thank foundation directors and anyone else at the organization who helped you with any aspect of the grant application. A sincere thank you goes a long way towards making a positive impression for your organization.
Successful grant applications take time and effort and can be stressful.. With these tips, you’ve just stepped ahead of many others who aren’t taking the time to learn more about the grant application process. Good luck, stay focused, and here’s to your success.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.